By JEREMI SURI
President Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday rejected more than 70 years of American historical experience. Although the speech repeated the phrase “national interest,” it extolled a swaggering, primal ethno-racial assertiveness that echoed the hyper-nationalist militarism of two world wars: “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy. America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.” Still more chilling for those recalling twentieth-century conflicts, the president also boasted that “our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before. In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago. We are standing up for America and the American people.”
The implication here is that globalism—and the United Nations itself—run counter to U.S. interests. In fact, most of the history of the past century suggests otherwise. Far from hemming in U.S. capabilities, globalism and international institutions have worked incredibly well in furthering American international objectives. And that’s probably why previous American presidents worked so hard to establish them.
President Franklin Roosevelt promoted the idea of a United Nations before the United States entered the Second World War.
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